Our sparkling beaches, sprawling markets and appetising cafes and restaurants have drawn people to Newcastle on New South Wales’ East Coast for years. But Newcastle is also a region that has many diverse and inclusive activities, that the whole family can enjoy. Here are the best things to do in Newcastle that will make you forget everything and enjoy yourself.
Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia
The Hunter Wetlands Centre is home to many threatened species including the Green and Golden Bell Frog, the Magpie Goose, the Black-necked Stork and Stephens Banded Snake. The entire site is 45 hectares, which means you’ll never feel crowded exploring the walking and bike trails that wind around the wetlands area, which are all graded ‘easy’. You will spot a diverse range of birds, animals, reptiles and plants. Guided buggy tours are also available for those who can’t walk far enough to enjoy the wetlands. HWCA is a not-for-profit, community owned and operated organisation with entry fees going towards maintenance and conservation for the wildlife in this important part of Newcastle’s ecology. The Hunter Wetlands Centre has several accessibility features for the mobility impaired including:
- sealed disability parking and set down zone
- lift to ground level from the visitor centre
- wheelchair ramp access from the car park
- wheelchair accessible toilets
- hard-surfaced compacted gravel paths
- hearing and guide dogs are welcome (by prior arrangement)
Markets in Newcastle
Newcastle City Farmer’s Market
The Newcastle City Farmer’s Market is held every Sunday in Broadmeadow and is a showcase of the best and freshest local produce and gourmet delights. Take a stroll around the stalls and sample the best Newcastle growers have to offer. It offers plenty of parking, lots fresh produce and a variety of different food and coffee vans. With live musical performances, grab a bite to eat and sit in their new grassed area complete with tables and chairs.
Olive Tree Market
The Olive Tree Market is Newcastle’s ‘Premier Art and Design Market’. Held once a month in the beautiful scenic and central Civic Park, it provides contemporary artists and designers with an arena to showcase their creative, handmade and ethically created local goods works. This market features a line-up of over 130 of the best artists, designers, makers, gourmet artisan food producers, and delicious street food vendors.
Blackbutt Nature Reserve
After an extensive renovation, Blackbutt Reserve now includes new footpaths, shelters, BBQ areas and green open play space (that you may have to share with the resident peacocks!) There are plenty of boardwalk paths to explore, easily accessing award winning wildlife exhibits featuring birds, mammals and reptiles, including a koala feeding daily. The $2.5million overhaul included building a tactile playground with elements like timber, stone, sand and water. This adventure playground features rope courses, bridges, swings and slides, interactive musical instruments and an adventure tower. The playground is a safe and welcoming environment, and those with mobility challenges can also enjoy, with wheelchair access to the playground enabled via a new pathway, and a specially designed carousel. The reserve is completely wheelchair accessible, including toilets. Manual wheelchair users have easy access through Carnley Ave entrance, with more animals to see without having to go a long distance through the bush.
Learn about Newcastle’s history in a hands-on environment. Focused on providing entertaining information, this Museum is fun for families of all ages. Newcastle Museum aims to be an accessible, vibrant centre where there are always things to see, do and learn. Permanent and rotating installations are interactive and engaging, and Newcastle Museum is actively conscious of providing an accessible facility for everyone. They have noise reducing headphones and ear plugs are available for use from the service counter, a clear path of travel with non-slip grips, and all exhibitions can be easily accessed by wheelchairs and strollers, ensuring they are welcoming to all groups and families.
ConnectAbility Australia runs a creative arts program led by Susan Porteous, Arts Facilitator for ConnectAbility who has a degree in fine arts and a bachelor in Community Services. This program is individualised so that every person has an individual outcome based upon their own goals. It creates an opportunity for people with a disability to develop skills, experience and independence through recreational art activities.
Newcastle Ocean Baths
Newcastle Ocean Baths is a popular outdoor swimming spot that was opened in 1922. Sitting right on the beach close to the city centre and includes an art deco pavilion, it is a picture-perfect way to spend the day. Newcastle Ocean Baths features a special access ramp which makes it easy for wheelchair or disability access. The Baths also feature disabled parking, lifeguard services and a cafe/kiosk.
Community Disability Program
ConnectAbility also offer a Community Disability Program which runs Monday to Friday, which includes fun and inclusive activities such as Bowling, site seeing, cooking, sensory art, bushwalking, and some of the best that Newcastle has to offer with our Three P’s: picnics, pubs and parks. Each month we offer activities that are aimed at specific interests which accommodate individual choice and tastes. One on one activities are also available as per needs. ConnectAbility focus on the strengths and abilities of individuals and connecting people with their communities; we are registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and can support you in finding the disability services you need. Contact us to see how ConnectAbility Australia can tailor a program for you.
How to contact Us
ConnectAbility wants to equip people to lead the best life possible and achieve their goals and dreams and to live as independently as they choose. If you’d like to know more about the community disability program or arts program, please call us. Alternatively, you can send us an email and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.